Next week LSESU are celebrating Refugee Week 2019, with the theme of “Uncertain Futures”. The week is organised by the Refugee Week Committee in conjunction with LSESU STAR (Student Action for Refugees), and it hosts a wide variety of events. Sindi Kuci, an LSE General Course student, has been working hard as a member of the Refugee Week Committee and has written this blog to share with us.
The plight of refugees and asylum seekers has been top of mind in the western world for years, but too often, we focus on cold statistics and domestic politics while overlooking the human dimension of this issue – the lives of refugees themselves. As refugees navigate the complex global web of laws, institutions, and preferences that make up the global refugee regime, they face numerous uncertainties in the short and long term, from securing the right to work to accessing healthcare to maintaining legal identification.
‘UNCERTAIN FUTURES’ is the theme of this year’s ‘Refugee Week’, an annual event planned and organised by the LSESU Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Society, our chapter of the national STAR charity welcoming refugees to the United Kingdom, volunteering at local refugee projects, campaigning for legislative improvements, and educating people about refugees and asylum. From the 4th until the 8th of March, we will explore the theme of Uncertain Futures in a week-long series of events, designed to fit the areas of interest of all students.
From panel discussions, to myth-busting sessions, to networking events, we invite all students and faculty to consider aspects of uncertainty lived by refugees each day, in a mix of thought-provoking and fun events, culminating in the “Rave for Refugees”, a fundraising event in aid of STAR, the national charity of 27,000 students welcoming refugees to the UK! Attendees will be further able to get a glimpse into the creativity of refugees, since we will be showcasing artwork by refugees within the venue!
For the students interested in getting more involved in improving the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, we will be hosting a ‘Networking Morning’, where students will have the opportunity to meet and network with professionals currently working in areas of refugee and migration support as well as in the International development sector. It is the perfect opportunity to learn what it takes to succeed in this sector and how to get a foot in the door! Detention Action, Restless Development, Migrants Organise, Wonder Foundation are just some of the many organisations collaborating with us.
For all the film enthusiasts out there, we will be screening “Another News Story”, an informative film on the impact of journalistic framing of people seeking refugee status. Within a narrative that closely follows the the media’s vast role in the refugee issue, the film showcases the importance of accuracy and reliability in an age of uncertain mass information. For a visual taste watch the trailer.
Last but not least, we will be organising two incredible panel discussions, featuring distinguished voices of academia as well as representatives from various humanitarian organizations, who will address some of the most pressing concerns of the refugee issue. The first panel, namely ‘The Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Insights from Kutupalong, the World’s Largest Refugee Settlement’ will feature a MSF representative, who will describe the organisation’s work with Rohingya refugees, both in the short-term, by fulfilling their immediate needs, and in the long-term, by creating education opportunities. Our other exciting speakers will delve more into the issue of education, particularly on its unstable nature when it comes to children bearing a refugee status. Come along on Wednesday, the 6th of March to learn more about present hardships of refugee children, take a glimpse into their futures and learn about the work of organisations willing to make a change!
One word about the second panel will surely suffice to grab your attention: Brexit! Mere weeks away from the Article 50 deadline, as everyone is at the edge of their seat with anticipation, we will introduce “Uncertain Futures: How will Brexit impact refugees in the UK?’. In line with the week’s overall theme, this discussion will be taking a unique approach to examining the consequences of Brexit on an already vulnerable segment of our population; refugees. LSE Professor of Human Rights Law Conor Gearty, Queen Mary University Professor of EU Law Elspeth Guild, and a representative from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will be the voices behind this discussion, offering their unique individual perspectives and advice on the potential impact of Brexit on refugees.
We encourage every LSE student to join us for Refugee Week 2019, grab tickets to the events that are of most interest to them and to join us into our venture of recognising the full potential of refugees and alleviating the inherent uncertainties in their everyday lives. For more information, please visit bit.ly/refugeeweek2019!
If Sindi has inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities taking place in Lent Term organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.